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Political Science

The Caroline McCormick Slade Department of Political Science

Marc Howard Ross
Stephen G. Salkever

Associate Professors:
Michael H. Allen
Marissa Martino Golden, Chair
Carol J. Hager

Assistant Professor:
Jeremy Elkins (on leave, semester II)

Deborah Harrold

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow:
Alan Keenan

Affiliated Faculty:
Youngmin Kim

The major in political science aims at developing the reading, writing and thinking skills needed for a critical understanding of the political world. Coursework includes a variety of approaches to the study of politics: historical/interpretive, quantitative/deductive and philosophical. Using these approaches, students examine political life in a variety of contexts from the small-scale neighborhood to the inter-national system, asking questions about the different ways in which humans have addressed the organization of society, the management of conflicts or the organization of power and authority.

Major Requirements

The major consists of a minimum of 10 courses, including 398 and 399. Two of these must be chosen from among any of the following entry-level courses: 101, 121, 131, 141, 205, 220, 228 and 231. The major must include work done in two distinct fields. A minimum of three courses must be taken in each field, and at least one course in each field must be at the 300 level. Majors take the senior seminar (398) in the first semester of the senior year and write a senior essay (399) in the second.

Fields are not fixed in advance, but are set by consultation between the student and departmental advisers. The most common fields have been American politics, comparative politics, international politics and political philosophy, but fields have also been established in American history, East Asian studies, environmental studies, Hispanic studies, international economics, political psychology, Russian studies, and women and politics, among others.

Up to three courses from departments other than political science may be accepted for major credit, if in the judgment of the department these courses are an integral part of the student’s major plan. This may occur in two ways: an entire field may be drawn from courses in a related department (such as economics or history) or courses taken in related departments will count toward the major if they are closely linked with work the student has done in political science. Ordinarily, courses at the 100 level or other introductory courses taken in related departments may not be used for major credit in political science.


Students who have done distinguished work in their courses in the major and who write outstanding senior essays will be considered by the department for departmental honors.

Minor Requirements

A minor in political science consists of six courses distributed across at least two fields. At least two of the courses must be at the 300 level. At least three of the courses must be taken at Bryn Mawr.


All Haverford political science courses count toward the Bryn Mawr major; courses in related departments at Haverford that are accepted for political science major credit will be considered in the same way as similar courses taken at Bryn Mawr. All Bryn Mawr majors in political science must take at least three courses in political science at Bryn Mawr, not counting Political Science 398 and 399.

POLS B101. Introduction to Political Science

An introduction to various theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of politics with emphasis on three concepts central to political life in all societies: authority, community and conflict. The course examines these concepts in relation to local communities, nations and the international system. (Harrold, Division I)

POLS B121. American Politics

An introduction to the major features and characteristics of the American political system. Features examined include voting and elections; the institutions of government (Congress, the Presidency, the courts and the bureaucracy); the policy-making process; and the role of groups (interest groups, women, and ethnic and racial minorities) in the political process. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Golden, Division I)

POLS B131. Comparative Politics

An introduction to the comparative study of political systems. A sampling of major questions addressed by comparative approaches such as why authority structures differ across countries; how major issues such as inequality, environmental degradation and ethno-nationalism arise in different polities; and why governmental responses to those issues differ so widely. Comparisons are made across time and space. Emphasis is placed on institutional, cultural and historical explanations. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Hager, Division I)

POLS B141. International Politics

An introduction to international relations, exploring its main subdivisions and theoretical approaches. Phenomena and problems in world politics examined include systems of power management, imperialism, war, cold war, bargaining and peace. Problems and institutions of international economy and international law are also addressed. This course assumes a reasonable knowledge of modern world history. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Allen, Division I)

POLS B205. European Politics: Between Unification and Dissolution

An analysis of the accelerating process of European unification and the increasing political divisiveness within individual European countries. We focus on the evolution of the state-society relationship in selected countries and the emergence of new sources of conflict in recent years. These are placed in the context of a changing international scene: the eastward expansion of the European Union, European social and economic unity, and the introduction of the Euro. (Hager, Division I)

POLS B206. Conflict and Conflict Management: A Cross-Cultural Approach

A study of how and why societies throughout the world differ in their levels and forms of conflict and methods of settling disputes. Explanations for conflict in and among traditional societies are considered as ways of understanding political conflict and dispute settlement in the United States and other contemporary settings. Prerequisite: one course in political science, anthropology or sociology. (Ross, Division I; cross-listed as Anthropology 206)

POLS B210. Human Rights, Conflict and Transitional Justice: No Justice, No Peace?

This course will explore how human rights norms can both support and complicate conflict resolution and peace-building efforts. After examining the various meanings and forms of "human rights," we will consider the range of "transitional justice" options available for societies attempting to move away from and make sense of their experience of protracted political conflict. Attention will be paid to the transitions in South Africa and Guatemala and the ongoing processes taking place in Peru and Sri Lanka. (Keenan, Division I)

POLS B220. Constitutional Law

A consideration of some of the leading cases and controversies in American constitutional law. The course will focus on such questions as the role of the constitution in mediating the relationship between public and private power with respect to both difference and hierarchy, and on the role of judicial review within a constitutional system. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Elkins, Division I)

POLS B222. Introduction to Environmental Issues: Movements, Controversies and Policy Making in International Perspective

An exploration of the ways in which different cultural, economic and political settings have shaped issue emergence and policy-making. Consideration is given to the prospects for international cooperation in solving environmental problems. (Hager, Division I; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 222)

POLS B226. Introduction to Confucianism

(Kim; cross-listed as East Asian Studies 226 and Philosophy 226)

POLS B228. Political Philosophy (Ancient and Early Modern)

An introduction to the fundamental problems of political philosophy, especially the relationship between political life and the human good or goods. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau. (Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 228)

POLS B231. Political Philosophy (Modern)

A continuation of Political Science 228, although 228 is not a prerequisite. Particular attention is given to the various ways in which the concept of freedom is used in explaining political life. Readings from Locke, Hegel, J.S. Mill, Marx and Nietzsche. (Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 231)

POLS B233. History, Politics and the Search for Security: Israel and the Palestinians

(Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as Hebrew and Judaic Studies 233 and History 290)

POLS B234. The Jurisprudence of the Administrative State

Through an intensive examination of judicial opinions and secondary texts, this course considers the nature of law and rights in the administrative state. Topics include the sources of legitimate agency power, the role of courts and agencies in interpreting statutes, and the rights of individuals to participate in agency decision-making and to challenge agency action. (Elkins, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B238. Science, Technology and the Good Life

(Dostal, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 238) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B241. The Politics of International Law and Institutions

An introduction to international law, which assumes a working knowledge of modern world history and politics since World War II. The origins of modern international legal norms in philosophy and political necessity are explored, showing the schools of thought to which the understandings of these origins give rise. Significant cases are used to illustrate various principles and problems. Prerequisite: Political Science 141. (Allen, Division I)

POLS B243. African and Caribbean Perspectives in World Politics

This course makes African and Caribbean voices audible as they create or adopt visions of the world that explain their positions and challenges in world politics. Students learn analytical tools useful in understanding other parts of the world. Prerequisite: Political Science 141. (Allen, Division I)

POLS B251. Politics and the Mass Media

A consideration of the mass media as a pervasive fact of U.S. political life and how they influence American politics. Topics include how the media have altered American political institutions and campaigns, how selective attention to particular issues and exclusion of others shape public concerns, and the conditions under which the media directly influence the content of political beliefs and the behavior of citizens. Prerequisite: one course in political science, preferably Political Science 121. (staff, Division I)

POLS B254. Bureaucracy and Democracy

The federal bureaucracy may well be the most maligned branch of government. This course moves beyond the stereotypes to examine the role of this "fourth branch" in the American political system. The course pays special attention to the bureaucracy's role as an unelected branch in a democratic political system, its role in the policy process and its relationships with the other branches of government. (Golden, Division I) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B265. Political Data Analysis (Paradigms and Perestroika)

This course invokes renewed emphasis in the discipline of Political Science on methodological pluralism. In that spirit, it introduces students to a variety of different ways in which to gather data in order to make knowledge claims about politics. Data are construed broadly to encompass qualitative information as well as quantitative. Methods range from historical contextualization to experiments, surveys, field studies and interpretations of texts and images. (Schram, Division I)

POLS B283. Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film and fiction as well as primary sources. Specific concerns include Islamic politics, colonialism, the anticolonial and postcolonial projects of nationalism and development and their discontents, collective memory and popular culture, economic liberalism and reform, and issues of authenticity and modernity. More particularly, the course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies and practices. (Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as Hebrew and Judaic Studies 283 and History 283)

POLS B300. Nietzsche, Kant, Aristotle: Modes of Practical Philosophy

A study of three important ways of thinking about theory and practice in Western political philosophy. Prerequisites: Political Science 228 and 231, or Philosophy 101 and 201. (Salkever; cross-listed as Philosophy 300) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B308. Political Transformation in Eastern and Western Europe: Germany and Its Neighbors

This course examines the many recent changes in Europe through the lens of German politics. From the two world wars to the Cold War to the East European revolutions of 1989 and the European Union, Germany has played a pivotal role in world politics. We will identify cultural, political and economic factors that have shaped this role and analyze Germany's actions in the broader context of international politics. (Hager, Division I; cross-listed as German and German Studies 308)

POLS B310. Topics in Comparative Politics: Comparative Public Policy

A comparison of the policy-making process and policy outcomes in a variety of countries. Focusing on particular issues such as environmental, social welfare and economic policy, we will identify institutional, historical and cultural sources of the differences. We will also examine the growing importance of international-level policy-making and the interplay between international and domestic pressures on policy makers. (Hager)

POLS B316. The Politics of Ethnic, Racial and National Groups

An analysis of ethnic, racial and national group cooperation and conflict in a variety of cultural contexts. Particular attention is paid to processes of group identification and definition; the politicization of race, ethnic and national identity; and various patterns of accommodation and conflict among groups. Prerequisite: two courses in political science, anthropology or sociology, or permission of instructor. (Ross)

POLS B320. Greek Political Philosophy

A consideration of major works by Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle, along with readings from the current debate over the relevance of Greek philosophy to philosophy and politics today. Topic for 2004-05: Aristotle: Ethics and Politics. (Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 321)

POLS B321. Technology and Politics

An analysis of the complex role of technology in Western political development in the industrial age. We focus on the implications of technological advance for human emancipation. Discussions of theoretical approaches to technology will be supplemented by case studies illustrating the politics of particular technological issues. Prerequisite: one course in political science or permission of instructor. (Hager) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B327. Political Philosophy in the 20th Century

A study of 20th-century extensions of three traditions in Western political philosophy: the adherents of the German and English ideas of freedom and the founders of classical naturalism. Authors read include Hannah Arendt, Jurgen Habermas and John Rawls. Topics include the relationship of individual rationality and political authority, the "crisis of modernity" and the debate concerning contemporary democratic citizenship. Prerequisites: Political Science 228 and 231, or Philosophy 101 and 201. Enrollment is limited to 18 students. (Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 327)

POLS B333. The Transformation of American Politics, 1958-1998

The American political system has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. This seminar examines the ways in which American political institutions and processes have been transformed — by design and by accident — and the causes and consequences of those changes. Special attention will be paid to the effect that these changes have had on the democratic character of the American political system and on its ability to govern. Enrollment is limited to 18 students. (Golden) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B339. The Policy-Making Process

This course examines the processes by which we make and implement public policy in the United States, and the institutions and actors involved in those processes. The aim of the course is to increase our understanding of how these institutions and actors interact at different stages in the policy process and the nature of the policies that result. Examples will be drawn from a range of policy domains including environmental policy and civil rights. Enrollment is limited to 20 students. (Golden; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 339) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B344. Development Ethics

(Koggel, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 344)

POLS B347. Advanced Issues in Peace and Conflict Studies

An in-depth examination of crucial issues and particular cases of interest to advanced students in peace-and-conflict studies through common readings and student projects. Various important theories of conflict and conflict management are compared and students undertake semester-long field research. The second half of the semester focuses on student research topics with continued exploration of conflict-resolution theories and research methods. Prerequisite: Political Science 206, General Studies 111 (at Haverford) or Political Science 247b (at Haverford). (Keenan)

POLS B348. Culture and Ethnic Conflict

An examination of the role of culture in the origin, escalation and possible peaceful settlement of 15 ethnic conflicts. How culture offers constraints and opportunities to governments and leaders engaged in ethnic conflict and cooperation is explored. Students engage in research projects that address the question of culture and conflict generally; examine one ethnic conflict and its possible resolution in depth; and collaborate with other students in comparison of this case with two others. Prerequisites: two courses in the social sciences. (Ross; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 348)

POLS B352. Feminism and Philosophy: Transnationalism

(Koggel, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 352) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B354. Comparative Social Movements: Power, Protest and Mobilization

A consideration of the conceptualizations of power and "legitimate" and "illegitimate" participation, the political opportunity structure facing potential protesters, the mobilizing resources available to them and the cultural framing within which these processes occur. Specific attention is paid to recent movements that have occurred both within and across countries, especially the feminist, environmental and peace movements. (Hager, Karen; cross-listed as Sociology 354) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B358. Political Psychology of Group Identification

(McCauley, Ross; cross-listed as Psychology 358) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B359. Sacrifice, Identity and Law

This course explores the role of various "sacrificial" practices — involving forms of relinquishment, renunciation, destruction and/or tribute — in the construction of individual and collective identity. The course focuses on both individual and collective (social and political) identity, including the role that various modes of "sacrifice" within law play in constructing identity. (Elkins, Division III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 359 and Philosophy 359) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B364. Irony and Inquiry: Plato and Nietzsche

In the work of both Plato and Nietzsche, there is a special and important relation between substance and "style" — that is, between what is said, how it is said and what it is meant to do. Through a close reading of primary texts, this course will explore this relation. In the course of our inquiry, we will explore such questions as the relationship of truth and power; of immanence and transcendence; of thought, action and the good life; and the notion of philosophical irony. (Elkins, Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as Comparative Literature 364 and Philosophy 364) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B375. Women, Work and Family

As the number of women participating in the paid workforce who are also mothers exceeds 50 percent, it becomes increasingly important to study the issues raised by these dual roles as well as to study the decision to participate in the paid workforce itself. This seminar will examine the experiences of working and non-working mothers in the United States, the roles of fathers, the impact of working mothers on children and the policy implications of women, work and family. (Golden, Division I; cross-listed as Sociology 375)

POLS B380. Persons, Morality and Modernity

What demands does the modern world impose on those who live in it? What kinds of persons does the modern world bring into being? What kinds of ethical claims can that world make on us? What is the relationship between public and private morality, and between each of us as public citizens and private persons? This course explores such questions through an examination of a variety of texts in political theory and philosophy. (Elkins, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 380) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B384. Islamic Political Thought

The course is concerned with Islamic political thought both as philosophy and as engagement with its contemporary historical world. Readings will be drawn from the rational and philosophic tradition in Islam: al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and al-Ghazali, as well as from later thinkers who engaged issues of authoritarianism, non-Islamic rule, modernity and change: Ibn Timiya, al-Afghani, Abduh, Mawdudi, Qutb and Khomeini. (Harrold, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 384)

POLS B390. The American Regime: Philosophical Foundations of American Politics

A consideration of the debates over the meaning of American politics, focusing on three major controversies: religion and politics, race and politics, and the relationship between polity and economy. Readings for the course are drawn from major texts in American political thought, from leading cases in American constitutional law and from modern commentary, both philosophical and policy-oriented. (staff, Division III; cross-listed as Philosophy 390) Not offered in 2004-05.

POLS B391. International Political Economy

This seminar examines the growing importance of economic issues in world politics and traces the development of the modern world economy from its origins in colonialism and the industrial revolution. Major paradigms in political economy are critically examined. Aspects of and issues in international economic relations such as finance, trade, migration and foreign investment are examined in the light of selected approaches. (Allen)

POLS B398. Senior Seminar

Required of senior majors. This course is divided into two parts. During the first eight weeks of the term, department faculty meet weekly with senior majors to discuss core questions of method and epistemology in political science and to consider a few selected examples of outstanding work in the discipline. The rest of the term is devoted to individual reading and tutorial instruction in preparation for writing the senior essay. (Allen, Elkins, Golden, Hager, Ross, Salkever)

POLS B399. Senior Essay

(Allen, Golden, Hager, Harrold, Ross, Salkever)

POLS B415. Central Texts of the Western Political Tradition

Prerequisite: permission of instructor (Salkever)

POLS B403. Supervised Work


POLS B416. Discussion Leader


Haverford College currently offers the following courses in political science:

121. American Politics and Its Dynamics
123. American Politics: Difference and Discrimination
131. Comparative Government and Politics: Isms and Schisms
141. International Politics
143. The Politics of Globalization
224. The American Presidency
226. Social Movement Theory
232. Peace Building: Reintegration, Reconciliation, Reconstruction
235. African Politics
239a. The United States and Latin America
245a. The State System
249. Human Rights and Global Politics
250. Politics, Markets and Theories of Capitalism
264. Political Economies in Developing Countries
265. U.S. Foreign Policy in the New World
266b. American Political Thought to the Civil War
268. American Political Thought: Post Civil War
325. Grassroots Politics in Philadelphia
338. Topics in Comparative Politics
391a. Research Seminar

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